Preparing for (and passing) Red Hat's EX188, specialist in containers

2023-06-24 12:55:00

It's been well over a decade since I started doing Red Hat certifications, back in th RHEL6 era. Since then I've gone after many exams and certs, taking a few every year although not limited to Red Hat stuff. For Red Hat I'm basically making sure to take a new every 2.5-3 years, so I can offically retain my "RHCE" status from 2014. 

After my frustrating encounter with EX413 (security, 2017) and the fun EX407 (Ansible, 2020), it was time again! Since my agenda and wishlist are so incredibly stuffed, I will admit that I took "the easy way out" in renewing my RHCE by taking EX188.

EX188 is Red Hat's first exam in the line of certifying on the subject of container administration and development. It's about using Podman/Docker, to build and run containers in a local environment. No high availability, no Kubernetes or OpenShift... Basically a big step back from my CKA exam from last year.

But, pragmatism has its place. This year I've got a lot of other plans for my own studies and my work as teacher and this was a solid and educational way to get to a goal quickly.


To make sure I'm well enough prepared:

Testing from home

I still very much like that Red Hat will let you take their practical exams from home. Unfortunately they use a much harder-to-use setup than people like Linux Foundation. Preparing to take CKA from home was dead simple. Preparing for Red Hat Kiosk exams is a chore.

 The e-book says my Macbook Air from 2017 should work, but it doesn't. So I used Dick's Lenovo gaming laptop again. It only works with the 2020-08 ISO, because of it's built-in M970 GPU. I also had to buy a cheap Logitech webcam, because my Razer cam didn't work. 

Important: make really, really sure that you test your computer fully way before the scheduled exam date. You must do this. 

The exam itself

I enjoyed it! It's 2.5 hours, for a handful of tasks. Red Hat advise you to first read through all assignments before starting, because one task may rely on another. Reading all tasks will take about fifteen minutes. I advise that you really do read all tasks before starting. 

The task descriptions for EX188 are good. They are thorough and detailed, they give you all the information you need for success. I have two minor squibles with the task texts.

  1. One choice of words that is repeated in each task is ambiguous (but you don't have to worry about it).
  2. One task had two lines in it that 100% contradict each other. They offer an impossible conflict. After discussing the conflict with the proctor, I followed their advice to use a logical approach which rules out the impossibility itself. 

I needed the full 2.5 hours for the exam. I had 85% of the work done after ~1.5, but then needed the remaining 45 minutes for debugging the final 15%.

Again, I really enjoyed the exam. It's well put together, not frustrating at all. tags: ,

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